Crabs, Camels and Crafts

June 1, 2011

Over Memorial Day Weekend we decided to drive over to Palatka for the annual Blue Crab Festival.  Here we found arts and crafts, camel rides for $5.00, helicopter rides for $10.00, and live music.  

Surprisingly we only saw one booth advertising blue crabs for sale – whole and in the shell. I had been looking forward to trying out a blue crab  dish of some type, but wasn’t quite  ready to crack one open myself.  

Instead we sought out one of the other food vendors, many of which were selling crab cakes (no doubt made out of some other type of crab).  For $10 we got a  gigantic crab cake covered with remoulade sauce, french fries and vegetables (zucchini, onion and carrots). Excellent choice! 

Wandering around in the heat of the late afternoon, we stopped to watch the two camels that had been geared up for riders.  One of the camels, which we soon learned was named JoJo after his trainer scolded him for being a troublemaker, was obviously not thrilled to be there.  Regardless, whenever it was his turn to carry a tiny child around in a circle, he did it with calmness and grace.

All afternoon we kept hearing the helicopter circle above us. Finally we decided to head over to the landing area and see what was going on. We watched again and again as three people were strapped in, the helicopter lifted off, circled once, then landed.  As those three passengers unbuckled and exited the craft, three more were standing right there, ready to take their place. 

Soon it was time to head back over to the stage to await the first of two tribute bands. 

The first was a Jimi Hendrix tribute, which turned out to be the better of the two.  The second one, a Led Zeppelin tribute, was by a band (Led Hed) with good musicians but incredibly weak vocals. The last band of the night,  Motor City Josh, took the stage around 10:30 pm but we quickly grew bored and left.

The music may have been a disappointment, but the day was not a total loss. Palatka obviously puts a lot into this festival every year, and it shows.


Kicking Off Summer

May 28, 2010

Around the State on Memorial Day Weekend. 

Over this Memorial Day Weekend, the American Automobile Association (AAA) projects that travel originating in Florida will drop 4.8 percent from a year ago. With so many things to do right here in Florida, no one has to leave the state, or travel far, for entertainment.  There’s a little something for everyone.  And I do mean everyone.

 7th Annual Urban Beach week (Miami Beach):  Called the ultimate beach party for the Hip Hop culture. Four days of food, festivities, and concerts.  Extravagant parties and festivals celebrating the urban lifestyle.  Concerts, contests, fashion shows and more.

Great American Beach Party (Ft. Lauderdale):  Special appearance by Connie Francis, star of the 1960 classic movie Where the Boys Are. This party celebrates the film’s 50th anniversary.  According to Ft. Lauderdale mayor John P. Seiler, this will be “a one-of-a-kind event that pays tribute to this film and captures the spirit and nostalgia of the 1960s.”  Hula hoop, limbo, Twister contests.  Classic Car Show.  Evening screening of Where the Boys Are.

 22nd Annual Blue Crab Festival (Palatka):  Enjoy live entertainment and food along the banks of the St. John’s Riverfront.  Seafood Cookoff begins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday.  Enjoy seafood chowders and gumbos. Take your turn on the mechanical bull, jump on a helicopter for $10, or take a camel ride for only $5.  Attend the Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony on Monday.

58th Annual Florida Folk Festival (White Springs): This annual festival, held at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, celebrates Florida’s land, people and culture.  Native Floridian Mel Tillis will be performing on Saturday evening.  Also check out Blind Buddy Moody singing the country blues, or catch a gospel, bluegrass or Irish fiddle concert.  Try some kumquat pie.  Walk among traditional crafters. Attend a workshop on food, dance, or environmental awareness. Don’t miss the old-time banjo contest and Florida State Fiddle Contest.

Jazz Festival (Jacksonville):  Jacksonville is celebrating all things jazz over Memorial Day Weekend.  A jazz parade, jazz art exhibit, and numerous concerts by the likes of Patti LaBelle, Spyro Gyra, Basia, Buckwheat Zydeco, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and many more.   Other events include the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, Jazz Brunches, and Jazz Juniors educational activities at the Main Library.

WWII Event at Fort Clinch (Amelia Island):  This event honors the men and women who served during World War II.  Explore military displays. Learn about uniforms, weapons, and lifestyles from the 1940s.

Memorial Day Weekend Pride 2010/Monster Beach Party 2010 (Pensacola): Five-day weekend celebrating gay pride. 

Florida Aquarium (Tampa):  Active, retired and drilling reservist or National Guard members get two free tickets to the Aquarium anytime during the 3 day holiday.